Sierra Club Outings
February is here already! Take a hike into the Bankhead Wilderness, see the waterfalls in the Talladega National Forest, help beat back that pesky honeysuckle, learn about photographing birds and flowers or take a picnic into Alabama's Black Belt or just enjoy gathering with friends to discuss environmental issues! Come join us on the trail or just out for a stroll down the street! more>>>
New Alabama PSC Commissioner Cavanaugh's Position on Burning Coal Challenged
In an opinion piece published in several Alabama newspapers earlier this month, new Public Service Commissioner Twinkle Cavanaugh asserted that, among other things, "inexpensive electricity" will continue to be available using coal fired power plants, especially if the EPA is not permitted to regulate greenhouse gases from these plants. Cavanaugh's article may be viewed by clicking:
In response, the following letter was sent to the editor of the Opelika-Auburn News.
"Editor: In her January 8 column, newly elected Alabama Public Service Commissioner Twinkle Cavanaugh suggested we should essentially maintain the status quo in the generation of electricity by employing coal-fired power plants. This is apparently because coal seems to be relatively less expensive than other sources of energy. However, when all costs associated with mining and burning coal are included (e.g., injuries and deaths of miners, asthma attacks, black lung disease, mercury contaminated fish, acid rain, coal ash hazards, polluted waters) alternative sources of energy are cheaper. Developing, employing, and increasing efficiency of alternative sources of energy will create jobs, increase energy security, and improve public health in Alabama. We should encourage this as opposed to continuing with the status quo."
Another member submitted a longer, but similar, letter to The Anniston Star. There may be other letters of which we are unaware. It is not too late for you to speak out. You can even contact Commissioner Cavanaugh directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Submitted by David Newton
Inaugural Project for 100-1000: Restore Coastal Alabama
By Carol Adams-Davis
As a first step in restoring the coast of Alabama and struggling coastal economies, nearly 500 volunteers from across the country started rebuilding oyster reefs along the delicate shoreline of Helen Wood Park, on the western shore of Mobile Bay, hoping to revive oyster beds that have been under assault for decades from overharvesting, coastal development, pollution, and most recently the BP oil spill.
The waters harbor much of the world's last remaining productive natural oyster beds, but the BP, April 20, oil well blowout dumped millions of gallons of crude into the Gulf and dealt yet another blow to this once bountiful habitat. more>>>
Environmental Groups Take Rosa Coal Mine Fight to Court of Appeals
Montgomery, AL – Two Alabama river groups are appealing an administrative law judge’s approval of a permit for a massive strip, auger and underground coal mine in Blount County. The Southern Environmental Law Center, on behalf of the Black Warrior Riverkeeper and Friends of Locust Fork River, filed the necessary papers this week with the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals; only a few coal mine permits have ever been appealed to this level in Alabama.
The groups say the water pollution control permit for the Rosa Mine issued by the Alabama Department of Environmental Management in October 2009 violates federal and state laws on multiple counts, and would fail utterly to protect water quality. The permit issued to MCoal is for a 3,255-acre coal mine that would allow more than 60 pollution discharge points into numerous feeder streams of the Locust Fork, a tributary of the Black Warrior River that is already on ADEM’s list of the most polluted streams in the state. more>>>
Urgent Alert: Congressional Attack on Regulation of Greenhouse Gases Anticipated
At this writing and by all accounts, the U.S. House of Representatives is expected to mount, very soon, a multi-pronged attack on the EPA's ability to regulate the emissions of greenhouse gases. Although the timetable is unclear, we anticipate proposals to:
- Exclude greenhouse gases from regulation under the Clean Air Act;
- Defund EPA's rulemaking authority;
- Delay EPA's authority to limit emissions of greenhouse gases;
- Invoke the Congressional Review Act, which allows Congress to review a federal regulation and, by passage of a joint resolution, overrule it.
Club members and friends are urged to be alert to developments, and to work diligently to oppose such measures. One way to do this is to regularly consult the Club's website: http://www.sierraclub.org/
Also, you will probably be more motivated to act by visiting: http://www.dirtyenergymoney.com/
Submitted by David Newton
A Recent Hike at Ruffner Mountain!
West Alabama Group at Ruffner Mountain Preserve on our December 2010 outing.
Report Cites Green Progress in Alabama
(from North Alabama Sierra Club) Rob Grant, Recreation Programs Manager for the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs, speaks glowingly of the amount of progress the state of Alabama has made in the new 2010 Alabama Green Progress Report.
According to Mr. Grant, "There's no better place to find a review of Alabama's eco-year than the new 2010 Green Progress Report, published by the Green Resource Center for Alabama. The report highlights some of the steps taken last year to make Alabama a more environmentally friendly place. The 12-page report contains about 50 items divided into six areas— government initiatives; recycling; habitat/species protection and restoration; green buildings, green communities; water conservation and quality; and parks, trails and greenways."
He goes on to say, "There's good news regarding the efforts of state agencies to increase the number of trails available in Alabama. The state now has a state trails commission, created this year by the legislature. The Alabama Tourism Department and the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources have joined forces to combine eight regional birding trails in the state into a single statewide network called the Alabama Birding Trails. And nine Alabama trails were officially designated this year as National Recreational Trails. There's much more at www.greenalabama.org."
For the full report, go to http://www.greenalabama.org/wp-content/uploads/ 2010/12/Green-Progress-Report-20101.pdf
Meeting to Focus on Madison Development Plans
The City of Madison is holding a series of meetings about plans for future growth. These meetings are interactive public meetings which provide residents with the opportunity to share their vision of the future of Madison which is constantly developing. The second meeting, which will focus on the six Key Development Areas and the development of the Growth Plan, will be held at The Craig & Steven Hogan Family Center YMCA on Thursday, January 27th at 6:30 p.m.
Leading up to the meeting, we are conducting on-line surveys that are an integral part of the Growth Plan effort, one for each Key Development Area. Visit the project home page: www.madisonal.gov/GrowthPlan or follow the links below. The main web site discusses the overall process for the development of a growth plan and includes updates on meetings and where the planning process stands. There is also a link which will allow you to receive regular emails about the planning.
County Line Road
Downtown & Midtown
Highway 72 Corridor
Old Madison Pike
South Madison I-565 Corridor
Western Growth Area
Your voice is important so please fill out the survey for your area, attend the meeting and get involved.
from The North Alabama Sierra Club
AHTS 10th Annual Conference in Huntsville
The Alabama Hiking Trail Society will be holding a conference in Huntsville at the Monte Sano Lodge the weekend of February 25-27, 2011. Mark the date on your calendar now. The theme of the conference will be Building Trails to Our Past and the Future. There will be three tracks of speakers, presentations, hands-on demos, hikes, entertainment, food, prizes and a special key note speaker.
More details will be available later at conference.hikealabama.org
The Alabama Hiking Trail Society and its members are dedicated to planning, building, and maintaining safe hiking trails for all to enjoy and educating the public of the careful use and enjoyment of Alabama's great outdoors.
EEAA Gathering in the Longleaf Forest!
Did you know that the EEAA (Environmental Education Association of Alabama) Conference brochure is now available at www.eeaa.us? Check it out! There will be field trips to: find fossilized sharks teeth, view the pitcher plants, explore the bogs, search for red-cockaded woodpeckers and more. Sessions include orienteering, how to adapt EE for people with special needs, brown pelicans and students engineering solutions for sediment. You won't want to miss our keynote speaker either - author Janisse Ray, who wrote Ecology of a Cracker Childhood, will be speaking about place-based education and teaching a workshop using brainstorming, literature and writing prompts. She will also do a book signing!
Need funds to attend? Don't forget members can apply for the Professional Development Funds. So recruit a friend and see you in April 14-16 at the Solon Dixon Center!
Mountains to the Gulf
Helping Teachers Make Connections Application
June 25 – July 2, 2011
Application deadline is April 29, 2011
Want a Dream Workshop this summer? The Mountains to the Gulf Teacher workshop will be so much more than that! It will be an adventure of a lifetime traveling across the state of Alabama for a week with these three amazing experts in their field: Dr. Jim Lacefield, Dr. Bill Deutsch and Dr. George Cline. The workshop will take place June 25 – July 2, 2011. The journey will begin at McDowell Environmental Center in the Bankhead National Forest and crisscross the state to places such as Little River Canyon, Cheaha State Park, the Coosa River and Dauphin Island Sea Lab. ,.
We will travel the state to trace the watersheds, dig into the geology and discover what connects all Alabamians together. You will g
The week is funded by the Gulf of Mexico Alliance (GOMA) and Legacy, Partners in Environmental Education. Other partners include Environmental Education Association of Alabama, McDowell Environmental Center, Alabama Water Watch, Jacksonville State University, Dauphin Island Sea Lab. There is a $50 registration fee <<is this a true “fee” or is it a deposit?>> that will be returned if not chosen for the workshop. But transportation, lodging, most meals, free classroom materials, and more learning than you can imagine are all covered under the grant!
Only twenty lucky teachers will selected for this adventure. Don’t wait another day! Send in your registration form today. For more information contact Maggie Johnston at email@example.com or call 205-387-1806.